Submitting a plant or weed for identification

For plant and weed samples needing to be identified please use PIDC 45 Sample Submission Form

Contact us before submitting an out-of-state sample for fees and restrictions. Note we do not identify plant varieties or cultivars (for example apple or pumpkins).

Specific instructions for collecting and submitting samples and Pictures from plant/weed Identification

Collecting samples

  1. Use care when collecting unknown species, some are poisonous, thorny, irritants, etc. (use gloves and wash hands afterwards).
  2. Wrap specimens in dry paper towel or clean newspaper. (Do not add moisture!) Pack the specimen loosely in a clear plastic bag to prevent excessive drying and mail in a strong carton.
  3. Submit only freshly collected specimens by the most rapid transit method. Undue delays can result in extensive deterioration of the specimen which makes identification difficult or impossible

Additional plant traits:

Leaves: include several that show details such margins, both underside, and top, describe color in spring, summer, and fall if known.

Stems: representative stem shape, length, color, thorns.

Trunk and bark: texture, color.

Flowers: color, shape, time of bloom, fragrance, size.

Fruit and seeds: time of year, color, shape, size.

Overall: age, shape, and location/ environment

 

Hints for specific plant material

  1. Submit entire plant or plants with as many plants parts as possible (fruit, leaves, stems, seeds-pods) whenever possible.
  2. Fleshy fruits, roots, and tubers—wrap with enough clean, absorbent material such as paper towels to absorb any leakage.
  3. Woody plants— include photographs of large plants such as trees that show bark and overall shape of the plant.
  4. Turf— lift out a section of turf that includes the entire plant and roots. see http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/info/submit/plant#Turfgrass